Safety procedures are written to prevent illness and injuries, and serve as a tool and guideline to help protect employees. When a company has a set of written safety procedures, employees do not need to guess when it comes to using machinery correctly or the protocol to follow in the case of an emergency. Written safety procedures let others know how to recognize and eliminate hazards, how to keep themselves and others safe and what to do in the event of an emergency.
Know your writing objective. Workforce Safety and Insurance states you should first know the reason or main goal for writing safety procedures. Possible reasons may include reducing the number of accidents, providing written safety instructions, lowering the amount of workers’ compensation claims and so on.
Know your audience and know who will use the safety procedures. You have to know if you are writing safety procedures for the employees within a company, for management, union representatives or federal regulators. Once you have these details figured out, you can write safety procedures in a manner tailored to the audience.
Decide on a safety procedure format that allows employees to find safety information quickly. Workforce Safety and Insurance recommends using 8.5 by 11-inch paper that can be hole-punched and inserted into a binder.
Create an outline. List the most important safety points in a logical order so you can organize your thoughts. OSHA states a well-organized plan leads to proper action and eliminates confusion, property damage and injury.
Write a brief introduction. The introduction explains the purpose of the procedure and the person responsible for enforcing it.
Write the procedure steps in order. Using your outline as a guide, write the safety procedure steps in a manner that is clear and concise. Use present tense, action verbs as if you were talking to a person that was doing the procedure at the same time. Workforce Safety and Insurance advises you to keep your sentences and paragraphs short, use illustrations with examples, avoid jargon and write with a positive tone of voice.
Divide comprehensive safety procedures. If you are writing a safety procedure that is more than a few pages long, such as an emergency evacuation plan, divide the text into several shorter procedures and sections.
Edit your writing. Make sure your spelling and grammar are correct, and that your introduction, safety procedure steps and summary all match. Use the assistance of a peer to test what you wrote to make sure the safety procedure is clear, easy to understand and does not miss any important steps.
Write the name of the company, manual, procedure title and section name (if applicable) at the top of each page.
Always number your procedures.
Write page numbers in the following manner: “Page 1 of (total number of pages).”